UNIVERSITY of NOTRE DAME

INSTITUTE FOR CHURCH LIFE

Echo 13 Indianapolis

Samantha Lessen

Echo Class:
Echo 13 Theology Teacher

School & Diocesan Placement:
Bishop Chatard High School
Archdiocese of Indianapolis

Hometown:
Alexandria, LA

Undergraduate Institution & Area(s) of Study:
University of Notre Dame, 2015
Program of Liberal Studies, Visual Communication Design

What are your favorite hobbies and activities outside of your ministry work?
I love photography, swing dancing, and watching Disney movies!

What attracted you to Echo and helped you decide to join the program?
The intentionality with which Echo develops the whole person was what most drew me to the program. Everything is oriented toward growing the spiritual, emotional, social, and intellectual facets of the apprentices and theology teachers. This focus on complete, well-rounded development was supplemented by the amazing people I knew in the program and the incredible staff. Finally, the structure of communal living, as well as the support that Echo provides through the Echo Formation Assistants, on-site mentors, and regular check-ins from the Echo staff, made me feel that Echo was the best program for me.

What kinds of things are you up to in your Echo school?
In my school, Bishop Chatard High School, I am teaching around one hundred and twenty sophomores. During the fall semester, I am teaching five sections of a Paschal Mystery course, which will transition into Ecclesiology in the spring semester. I am continuing to get to know my beautiful and amazing students, and attending plenty of high school events; I have been assisting with the Sophomore Retreats, chaperoning dances, cheering on the Trojans at football and soccer games, and becoming a part of the amazing Bishop Chatard community.

What advice would you give to Echo applicants?
I would advise Echo applicants to be their most authentic selves in their applications and interviews. Echo is a program that demands your whole self, all of your goodness as well as all of your brokenness. Don’t hide who you are in order to seem like the most perfect candidate for the position, because that kind of existence is not sustainable within the program. That kind of vulnerability can be scary and difficult, but it is also incredibly beautiful and rewarding. This is something to enter into with your whole heart and being, so make sure to be genuine and authentic throughout the application process.

Michael Infantine

Echo Class:
Echo 13 Theology Teacher

School & Diocesan Placement:
Scecina Memorial High School
Archdiocese of Indianapolis

Hometown:
San Diego, CA

Undergraduate Institution & Area(s) of Study:
University of Notre Dame, 2016
Program of Liberal Studies
Theology (minor)

What is your favorite quote, song, or image?
One of my favorite quotes is from Sheldon Vanauken’s beautiful book A Severe Mercy: “It is a poor life if we have no time to ‘stop and stare’ as the sheep and cows can do.” I think it captures something deeply true and important about living a full, balanced life.

What kinds of things are you up to in your Echo school?
I’m teaching a Sacraments course with juniors in the fall and an Ecclesiology class with sophomores in the spring.  Between chaperoning high school dances, helping lead class retreats, going to students’ games, and actually teaching every day, I have no trouble staying busy!

What is the most significant thing you’ve learned in Echo?
The most challenging and beautiful thing I have learned so far in Echo is that holiness often feels like doing things you don’t necessarily feel like doing in the moment, but it is precisely those times in which God is calling you to a deeper love.

What advice would you give to Echo applicants?
My advice to Echo applicants would be this: Take time to pray.  About everything.  Always.  You won’t regret it.

Sami Burr

Echo Class:
Echo 13 Theology Teacher

School & Diocesan Placement:
Nativity Catholic School
Archdiocese of Indianapolis

Hometown:
St. Paul, MN

Undergraduate Institution & Area(s) of Study:
University of Notre Dame, 2016
Theology, Classics

What attracted you to Echo and helped you decide to join the program?
I love that through Echo I get to continue to be a student of Theology while also passing on the faith to others. I love seeing my middle school students’ faces light up when they understand a Theological mystery in a new way.

What have you enjoyed most about your Echo experience thus far?
My students! They are absolutely crazy and, in many ways, awkward and difficult. But they also bring me so much insight and joy.

What kinds of things are you up to in your Echo school?
Every day I teach 118 middle school students religion for about an hour each. 6th graders are learning about salvation history, and getting into the different covenants God makes with His people. 7th graders are learning about who Jesus is and what that means for our lives. 8th graders are diving into Church history.

What is the most significant thing you’ve learned in Echo?
Echo has taught me my life is not about me; my life is about being a part of God’s gift of love.

Alex White

Echo Class:
Echo 13 Theology Teacher

School & Diocesan Placement:
Cardinal Ritter High School
Archdiocese of Indianapolis

Hometown:
Fayetteville, WV

Undergraduate Institution & Area(s) of Study:
University of Notre Dame, 2016
Theology, Italian

What are your favorite hobbies and activities outside of your ministry work?
I love to play the piano, do improvisational comedy, and play ultimate frisbee.  I enjoy long dinner conversations, breakfast food at all hours of the day, and watching movies.  Fantasy football, Mario Kart: Double Dash, and Sherlock are some of my guilty pleasures in life.

What is your favorite quote, song, or image?
My favorite quote is, “You can’t give what you don’t have.”  I think it speaks to the importance of a spirit of receptivity and humility in our ministries across the country.  St. Paul says, “What do you possess that you have not been given?” (1 Cor 4:7, NABre).  Anything that we give is only ours to offer because it has been given to us in the first place.

What is the most significant thing you’ve learned in Echo?
Echo has taught me that true love consists of loving someone in a way that he or she can receive it.  Living in community and facing 60 high schoolers a day has shown me that each person receives the same thing differently.  Being a truly considerate teacher and housemate means taking the time to understand the complexities and particularities of each person and loving them in terms they can understand and receive.

What advice would you give to Echo applicants?
Be brave!  No amount of conversations or education can adequately prepare you to handle everything that Echo will throw at you.  And when you are pushed outside your comfort zone (which you absolutely will be by this program), you can’t help but grow from it.  Take a leap of faith; it’s worth it.

Kelsey Hayes

Echo Class:
Echo 13 Theology Teacher

School & Diocesan Placement:
Providence Cristo Rey High School
Archdiocese of Indianapolis

Hometown:
Charlton, MA

Undergraduate Institution & Area(s) of Study:
Providence College, 2016
Elementary/Special Education
Theology (minor)

What are your favorite hobbies and activities outside of your ministry work?
I love to dance! I’ve been dancing since I was five years old. I enjoy Irish Step Dancing and Hip Hop the most. I love to incorporate dancing into my classroom.

What kinds of things are you up to in your Echo school?
I am teaching Sophomore and Junior Theology! So far we have memorized the definition of a Sacrament by dancing, and we did a Mock Trial on who is responsible for Original Sin. We also learn about a different Saint every week!

What is the most significant thing you’ve learned in Echo?
I have learned humility and how to let God work through me. I have learned how to love my students where they are in their faith lives and walk with them through the hard moments. Echo has given me the chance to appreciate my faith as well and share it with others.

What advice would you give to Echo applicants?
Be honest and share yourself with the Echo staff. Show them what you are passionate about and share your faith journey with them through your application! And don’t forget to pray about it!

Zachary JJP Zvosecz

Echo Class:
Echo 13 Theology Teacher

School & Diocesan Placement:
Bishop Chatard High School, Campus Ministry
Archdiocese of Indianapolis

Hometown:
Lorain, OH

Undergraduate Institution & Area(s) of Study:
Xavier University, 2015
Theology
Religious Education, Psychology (minors)

What are your favorite hobbies and activities outside of your ministry work?
I am the resident soccer fanatic – I watch it, play it, broadcast it, and film it. My favorite team is West Ham United in London. It is not uncommon to see me making a fool of myself by yelling and singing in front of the TV when a game is on!

What is your favorite quote, song, or image?
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery

What do you hope to do after Echo?
I hope to teach high school theology after my time here. Echo is helping me to learn, practice, and build the skills I will need for my ministry work after graduation in addition to giving me a firm foundation in the study and internalization of the faith.

What advice would you give to Echo applicants?
I have two pieces of advice for Echo applicants: pray, and ask questions. Contact Echo graduates or current Echo apprentices and theology teachers and ask them for an insider’s view of the program. And do ask anything! If you can, visit a community to get the feel for community life. And of course, pray throughout the application process that the Lord may lead you where He wills. The Suscipe and the First Principle and Foundation were the go-to prayers for me.